The true cost of gaming

Our research reveals gamers’ attitudes toward computer performance — and the ethics of winning and losing.

Our research reveals gamers’ attitudes toward computer performance — and the ethics of winning and losing.

Once a niche pastime, the gaming industry (approaching its 50th anniversary) is now bigger than both Hollywood and the music industry — combined! To put this into perspective, so far this year more than 7000 titles have been released, eagerly awaited by around three billion gamers worldwide.

You might spend only a couple of hours per week gaming and do it just for fun, but if you’re serious about winning and want to invest time, money and effort, there are some well-established avenues to quickly improving your… game. If you want to learn from others, take a look at some insights we’ve collected while working with more than 10,000 global gamers to get their thoughts on everything from the performance of their computers to the ethics of winning and losing.

Our research revealed pro gamers are like professional sports stars. Key to a winning performance is obviously computer power. And gamers prefer to build their own desktop PCs rather than heading to a big box store.

What impressed us is the attention to detail as everyone carefully specifies hardware for the games they play to improve performance, with 66% purchasing a graphics card, memory, SSD, whole PC, or monitor that specifically meets their needs. Two of the most important hardware considerations are processing power (49%) and bandwidth (40%) as they offer advantages over rivals with slower data connections. Almost three-in-four are also very specific about the right accessories. The priorities go in this order: keyboards (38%), mice (37%), headsets or microphones (37%), and chairs (32%).

For people participating in e-sports tournaments or even friendly competitions, maintaining good mental health is essential to help you react under pressure, so 76% of active gamers work on this aspect too. Obviously, practice is very important, but, surprisingly, only 41% put it as a winning factor.

The vast majority of serious gamers are ready to use every possible method or trick to win — 85% said that they’d use inside knowledge to beat an opponent. The global community agrees on one thing — using dishonest methods to achieve your goal only highlights a lack of skill.

We talked to gamers from Europe to South America and Asia-Pacific, and they all said the same — their biggest beef with game makers is that their accounts have been hacked at some point in the last two years. And while the industry invests millions into graphics and game development, it’s a long way to go in terms of user account security — 63% of respondents agree their accounts are not properly protected.

So, how do all these factors rank at the end of the day?

Using every trick in the book plus inside knowledge to win (no cheating!) 85%
Mental health, perform under pressure 76%
Custom accessories (keyboards, mice, etc.) 75%
Custom selected hardware components 66%
Better security 63%
Powerful hardware (CPU, GPU, memory) 49%
Much practice 41%
Lots of bandwidth 40%

We can contribute to a substantial improvement of game security, so here’s some advice for gamers wanting to maintain a high-level of performance and security:

  • It’s safer to buy games only from official sites/stores and wait for sales on those sites. Sales happen quite often and it’s a much safer way to save money than buying from illegal stores or downloading pirated software. The probability of account loss and direct financial theft is much higher with pirated software as it’s regularly used by cybercrooks to find new victims.
  • Beware of phishing campaigns that might take the form of fake notification emails from gaming services or direct messages from unfamiliar gamers. Criminals use these tactics to lure you to fake websites and steal your Steam, Discord or other credentials. They might also distribute malware disguised as a game mod or other attractive items. So, triple check the website’s address and avoid unfamiliar sites, and remember that offers that sound too good to be true — aren’t.
  • Make sure your computer is always protected by cybersecurity software. There is exactly zero need to “disable your antivirus/internet security/firewall” to play. Modern security solutions, like Kaspersky Plus, have a special “gaming mode”, which allows you to play without FPS reduction or any distractions. If any game mod or utility requires you to disable your security, it’s a huge red flag.